Dear Two-Year-Old Marin,
I will probably say this with each passing birthday, but has it been another year already? Where does the time go? Sometimes, I think of it like this – you’re now 1/9 of the way to college, and that FREAKS. ME. OUT. I’ve dreaded dropping you off to school since the day we had our first ultrasound and found out you were our Marin. But again, time has humbled me, and proved that I’m no match for stopping it and keeping it still a little while longer. For now you are two, and I am glad to have you in our home, and that I get to hear your giggles and footsteps all throughout our apartment each day.
Let me just start by saying, I LOVED THIS YEAR. Besides the two-to-one nap transition, if I could bottle this time up to return to at any point-and-time, I would. After reading last year’s letter, I was amazed at how much has truly happened for you and for us. We witnessed your first (and second) steps, and let you wobble on the T buses and trains in tow to adventures till our big move in January to Medford. Our lives seemed to make a drastic change overnight – you got your first (real) bedroom, you got a playroom, and we got a car. (K)uncle Tom moved up to Boston and we all get to live together now. It’s like you’ve been provided with a circus of entertainment when all you had before was a small bin shoved below the TV stand in our living room and lived out a version of Groundhog Day your first 16 months. That’s the level of change that the pictures I’ve taken will probably never fully capture of you and our new life here. You weren’t unhappy going to the same parks, taking the same walks, seeing the same bustling crowds – you were a city baby and now you’ve happily transitioned to a suburban toddler.
The car has made the biggest difference. We now can go to playgroups and free parenting workshops (with childcare) at the MFN (Medford Family Network). We go to library storytimes regularly, and transitioned you early to the 2-3 year old one because of your love for sitting and reading books. As much as you enjoy a crowd of adults to entertain with your silly nature, being in a group of five or more kids with toys, is not your cup of tea. Five or less, and you’re leading the group to the tune of “baa baa black sheep”, “wheels on the bus”, or “if you’re happy and you know it”. You could sing songs all day, and I finally had the bright idea of checking out kids CD’s from the library for you in the last month for your car entertainment. You request hearing songs now every time we go for a drive, and I happily sing along with arm motions and all. My life has never been so grand or possibly publicly embarrassing.
Grandma Lynn got you a pass to the Mass Audobon society so we try to go to Drumlin Farms when we can. You love animals – particularly sheep, ants on the sidewalk, and monkeys at the zoo. Your monkey and paci are still the true loves of your life, and you put them to bed each morning when you get up, shut the door, and remind me that they’re ‘sleeping’ throughout the day. You take care of your baby doll, hold her by the head, and make sure she has her paci – unless of course, you’re holding it in your mouth. You jump on the orange armchair each afternoon, in anticipation for Daddy and Kuncle to come home after your nap, and yell “Hi Daddy! Hi Kuncle!” as soon as you see them cross the street. You love to go to the Fishers and play with them as much as possible, and if you leave their house, it’s probably in tears. You love Brooklyn too, and seeing you with her has brought me so much excitement and anticipation for seeing you in your next role, a big sister to our new baby.
You give our baby kisses and pats and sing them songs in my belly. You blow kisses, you give hugs, and your open mouth kisses are now puckered when planted on my lips. You are extremely nurturing and concerned for anyone or anything. If you see a football player fall down on TV, you automatically think a medic should help them immediately. You will ask “fall down?” or self-evaluate a person, and say “(s)he ok now” if you consider them to be alright. It is one of the most unique things about you, Marin, and I pray that you never lose your innate ability to empathize with those who hurt.
You’ve self-weaned, and while it felt gut-wrenchingly difficult for me, was painless and simple for you. Fortunately, ‘our time’ has adjusted with it – and now, when you are sad, hurt, or ready for bed, I hold you in my arms and sing you “You are my Sunshine” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Ironically, these are the same two songs I sang to you exhaustively as a newborn, and now they feel refreshingly sweet, with all 33 lbs and 3 feet of you laying limp against my shoulder in my arms after a day of running around.
Bedtime is always my favorite moment of the day with you (because you cuddle curled up beside me), but I love to hear you jumping in your crib each morning. You could possibly stay in there all day, as long as I came in from time-to-time to feed you. No matter how long I give you to yourself, when I come in, you still try to insist on hanging out in your crib before letting me pick you up. You eat each meal with no timeline in mind and with the same mentality, head up and down our stairs each day. I remind myself that you have no sense of where we need to be, or where I’m trying to take you each day, and that it’s really ok to give you a minute to try and put on your shoes, rather than fight you each time. I take a moment and wait to hear “Mama, help” – if we’re 5 minutes later to the park, the world will go on. Sometimes, I reflect on your lack of care for time as part of your nature – afterall, you’ve never really been timely, my dear.
You’ve developed in so many ways that it’s hard to list them all. You can count to nine, and when it’s time for ten, immediately go back to two. You know the colors, pink, white, yellow, and blue consistently. If you don’t know what a color is, you just go down the list of the ones you know, with blue being your clear favorite. You know your A,B,C’s as long as you sing them, and you can actually sing a fair amount of songs by heart, or at least by what you think the words are. You consistently poop on your potty, with only one accident since February. Pee is a different story – but, as of the day before your 2nd birthday, you’ve been completely dry for 5 days, with no accidents, so I’m putting you in ‘big girl panties’ from now on. You can recognize most animal noises, and love to look at cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes, especially when the garbage truck comes just outside our window. You love painting and coloring with markers and bubbles, although now you insist on doing it all yourself.
You’ve had many moments of increased independence, and I sometimes sit amazed that you are playing quietly by yourself. I eat up all of the moments I get with you, and I sit anxiously as I watch you try to figure out a puzzle. To watch you struggle, or wrestle with a new motor skill, hands off, is painful for me, but important for you. I watch you brave the steps at a playground and slide down alone now. I watch you convince me you can do something, and I love to see you look back for me to know I’m watching, even if I’m not participating.
Your zeal for life, your passions in it, and your love of all you meet, shone through abundantly this year. There is still no one you do not care about – we just transitioned from strangers on the bus to new friends at the playground who at the onset of this year, you happily shared with, and by the end, you fought for the tricycle at the playground. You bring your Mommy and Daddy so much joy and so much sleep (since you’ve consistently slept the entire night from 15 months on). You’ve made us want more babies than we can count, and make us completely content with the one we already have. You’ve caused me to slow down, to appreciate the perfect imperfections of everyday life, to laugh more at the kitchen table, to let the dishes sit a little while longer, to get out the door a little slower, to leave the park a little later, and to read one more book whenever I possibly can. You’ve changed, and we’ve changed because of you, in your second year.
As I got you ready for bed on your 2nd birthday, I had my cry moment, and this year, I had my joy moment. I reflected on how grateful I am to Jesus for giving us the most perfect daughter for our family, and how I get to have another year with her. This year, I’ll get to see you grow in new ways, and I’ll get to enjoy you as our oldest, not only child. So as my eyes well up with tears, in a misty pool of emotion, know that with every moment and every year, when I find I couldn’t possibly love you more, I do. When I find it can’t possibly get better, it does.
You are still our Star, and now you’re our Peanut, Nugget, and Silly Bean too. Happy Birthday to you, my silly, sweet, compassionate, beaming Marin. May you shine brighter this year than ever before.
I love you so very much,